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Elisseeff joins National Academy of Inventors

April 16, 2015

A quick rundown of more than 100 academic research papers that Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD, Jules Stein Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the School of Medicine, has published in her career reveals a remarkable breadth of work in a relatively short time. Her specialization is in biomimetics — materials that mimic the properties and functions of natural tissues in order to heal and repair the human body after defect, disease or injury.

At 41, Elisseeff has been celebrated for her groundbreaking creations on numerous occasions in the media and through professional accolades. Now, she has added another to the rapidly growing list: being named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI’s self-proclaimed mission is to honor inventions flowing out of the nation’s research universities and institutes, and to translate those innovations into practical applications for the benefit of humankind. Not lost on the NAI is the fact that Elisseeff has founded two successful companies based on these inventions.

“Anytime you’re recognized it is a compliment, but especially when it’s by one of the national academies,” said Elisseeff of being named among the NAI’s newest class of inventors, a list that this year included Nobel laureate and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Among Elisseeff’s more attention-grabbing works are an injectable, light-activated material that helps repair damaged cartilage. Then there are the fatty tissues that have had the lipids — the milky, opaque fats — removed, leaving behind a sort of natural scaffolding that can be used as the foundation to rebuild other bodily tissues. Elisseeff has also developed new transparent bioadhesives and membranes to heal injured eyes.

“These materials act like a glue to seal the damaged areas together, but they go a step beyond, fostering the growth of new tissues that heal without scarring or tissue rejection,” Elisseeff explains, adding about the NAI recognition: “It’s a great honor to be recognized for ideas you’ve helped bring to life.”

— Andrew Myers

Category: Faculty
Associated Faculty: Jennifer H. Elisseeff

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